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FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Author name: Lee Health


COVID vaccine graphic

The approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine could not have come at a better time.

On Aug. 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older. The approval replaces the emergency use authorization the agency granted in December.

Since mid-summer in Florida, the delta variant of COVID-19 has overwhelmed hospital systems across the state with patients diagnosed with the highly contagious disease. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, unvaccinated people are most at risk, with younger and previously healthy people who remain unvaccinated getting sick.

Public health officials hope the FDA approval of the vaccine persuades many of the roughly 85 million Americans who are unvaccinated and eligible for shots to get them.

A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that three out of every 10 unvaccinated people said that they would be more likely to get a shot once it was fully approved.

“Vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of more than 900 people inside Lee Health hospitals and sickened thousands in our region,” says Stephanie Stovall, M.D., chief of quality and patient safety at Lee Health.

”We really hope this full approval encourages anyone who is on the fence to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to do so as soon as possible. All of the COVID-19 vaccines available today underwent rigorous evaluation through clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. They were all proven to be safe and effective.”

Lee Health Expands Vaccine Clinic Hours

Because of the increased demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, Lee Health has expanded it hours of operation at its Community Vaccination Clinic, effective immediately.

Located at Gulf Coast Medical Center, the clinic is open on Wednesdays, along with Tuesdays and Fridays, from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Those who are eligible for the third dose boosters can also visit the clinic to receive their vaccination.

There is no cost for the COVID-19 vaccine. Lee Health’s vaccination clinic is walk-in or you can make an appointment at

Those ages 12 through 15 can still receive the vaccine under the existing emergency use authorization.

Need to Get Tested?

If you’re not experiencing a medical emergency, a designated testing site is the right place to go for a COVID-19 test. To find a community COVID-19 testing site near you, click here.

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